The Western Force completed a weekend of shocks with a 25-13 win over the Waratahs in Sydney on Sunday, writes BRENTON CHELIN.
After some of the scintillating rugby we've witnessed in round one, this match failed to follow the script. The Force didn't even need to be at their best to beat the defending champions, who were desperately poor.
In the corresponding fixture last season, Israel Folau ran in a hat-trick. On Sunday, he was anonymous. As were most of the Waratahs' game-breaking backs, who were undone by numerous unforced errors.
The Force enjoyed the lion's share of possession and territory, which they utilised to outscore their opponents by four tries to two.
In a dire first half, it was the Force who held the advantage, after a 36th-minute try from flank Chris Alcock handed them an 8-3 lead.
The Waratahs were simply never at the races. It was a listless performance, as they were outplayed in every facet of play, apart from the scrums.
The upset was well and truly on the cards when Angus Cottrell crashed over to make the score 15-3 early in the second half.
A try from Rob Horne 10 minutes later – after the Force had gone down to 14 men – briefly raised hopes of a comeback. But two further tries, from Luke Morahan and replacement prop Francois van Wyk, sealed a famous win for the Force – their first opening day victory in their decade-long history.
Waratahs – Tries: Rob Horne (2). Conversion: Bernard Foley. Penalty: Foley.
Force – Tries: Chris Alcock, Angus Cottrell, Luke Morahan, Francois van Wyk. Conversion: Sias Ebersohn. Penalty: Ebersohn.
Waratahs – 15 Israel Folau, 14 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper, 6 Jacques Potgieter, 5 Will Skelton, 4 Dave Dennis (c), 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Subs: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Sam Lousi, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Stephan Hoiles, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Matt Carraro.
Force – 15 Dane Haylett-Petty, 14 Luke Morahan, 13 Kyle Godwin, 12 Solomoni Jnr Rasolea, 11 Marcel Brache, 10 Sias Ebersohn, 9 Alby Mathewson, 8 Ben McCalman, 7 Chris Alcock, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Adam Coleman, 4 Sam Wykes (c), 3 Tetera Faulkner, 2. Nathan Charles, 1 Pek Cowan.
Subs: 16 Heath Tessmann, 17 Francois van Wyk, 18 Oliver Hoskins, 19 Steve Mafi, 20 Brynard Stander, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Zack Holmes, 23 Luke Burton.
Photo: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images